2016 U.S. Census Bureau

Who We are


Norfolk residents between the ages of 18-34 make up over 36% of Hampton Roads poverty stricken. There is a visible gap separating those who have and those who lack. This absence of income has created a consistent production of low-income families and communities all around Hampton Roads.

The family model representing stability is failing in urban communities. 60% of U.S. children who live in mother-only families are impoverished. Incarceration of fathers is a huge contributing factor leaving fatherless homes with mothers who depend on government systems to survive. This cycle traps broken families in substandard living conditions in neighborhoods where violence is heavy and children attend schools that only prepare them to stay in that cycle.

The usual solution to assist these families is often to label their communities dangerous eyesores that must be revitalized. Neighborhoods are torn down and residents disperse to other poverty-stricken neighborhoods. This leads to the same outcome in a different area.

Our goal at The Bennett Center is to bring fathers back into the home and rebuild the family structure. We want to break the cycle of deficiency by increasing quality of life. We believe providing programs that work together, allowing people to improve their whole selves, mentally, emotionally and physically is paramount to the success of people achieving that goal.

What we do


The federal poverty level is $12,082 a year. At $7.25 an hour (the current minimum wage) a single mother earns $13,920 a year before taxes and other deductions. A mother cannot possibly live off of minimum wage and support a family.

The Bennett Center is unique in its approach to providing the whole family the opportunities for advancement. Through our school, we educate youth 1st-12th grades. We prepare our students by relating study subjects to real life situations and applying the knowledge from those lessons daily. Our children focus on building life skills early as well as developing their gifts and natural talents.

Through our customer service call center we equip parents with job skills and resources for entrepreneurship, increasing their earning potential along with their success of becoming independent of government provided services. Through our vocational programs, we encourage older students and adults who are not college bound to learn a trade. These individuals become confident, productive citizens who contribute to the community they live in and beyond.

How we do it


The Bennett Center is actively creating solutions to strengthen broken families due to economic hardship in urban areas of Hampton Roads. Building a facility for our programs is the first step in the process of restoring families. The facility would include our school, customer service center and our vocational training classes.

Solo contributions, grants, and sponsorships are how we keep our programs running. We currently have a capital campaign designed to erect a state of the art facility. This facility will provide the tools to aid whole families to better themselves.

We know we can’t do this alone. We need people like you, who believe no one should have to suffer the pains of poverty, that every person should have the opportunity to move from the damaging hold of generational hardship to advance. With your involvement, together we can break the educational barriers of our growing youth and revitalize the communities that are suffering needlessly.

Our Founder

Alasha Bennett

As a single homeschool mother of 3, I understand what it means to be touched by poverty. I had the desire of a better life for myself and my children but got caught up by the confines of the system. It is hard when you need a helping hand but receiving government handouts means getting stuck in a loop you can’t see a way out of.

I learned quickly that government assistance programs are set up to keep low-income families in destitute situations. It is a middle place of having enough to survive but not enough to give you a foothold into a better place. I founded The Bennett Center as a way to help people who need a boost out of poverty to a better position.

I want people to get out of the lost existence of trying to survive until tomorrow. I want people to not only feed their families by physically putting food on the table but to feed their families emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. It is impossible to do this when one doesn’t have the tools to succeed.

I want single mothers to not have the struggle of choosing between leaving government assistance and losing their home because they’re trying to be better for their families. Will you join me in my mission?